You're Never Too Old To Be Happy And Make The World a More Joyful Place Lessons From Desmond Tutu & The Dalai Lama

By Kris Deichler, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

When you go beyond the physical and what we can touch and see with the naked eye, we human beings are all so much more alike than we often realise. We all want the same things in life and we all struggle with the same things too. We all want to live well, to find love, to live in peace and to be free from fear, pain and insecurity. Probably the most simple factor common to all is the search for happiness... If you think about it, can't everything you're dreaming of and everything you're working towards in your life be summed up in one simple sentence - you just want to be happy?!

So where and how do we find happiness, what does it mean exactly? Who better to turn to and ask than the Dalai Lama (81) and Archbishop Desmond tutu (85), both of whom have combined forces and written a book all about happiness called The Book of Joy. The two men have lived very long and impactful lives spreading a message of peace and understanding in the world, whilst having also gone through hardship and oppression. If there's one thing that stands out about both of them though, it's that they are two of the most happy and joyful people you could meet.

One key message both men share is that happiness is something available to all of us at any time, no matter who we are, how old we are and what we have been through. Whether we find happiness or not, it depends on where we are looking. As the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu say:

"The ultimate source of happiness is within ourselves. Love. Kindness. Not machines, not technology, not money, not power."

~ The Dalai Lama

"We find a deep deep dissatisfaction in out and out materialism."

~ Desmond tutu

How often do we tell ourselves that when we get that job, make that million, find that special person, buy that house, have that family, get that thing we want, we will be happy... And yet, when it eventually arrives, it's still not enough? The excitement and joy we feel when we get it is short lived and so we go on looking for the next thing and the next.

As these two very wise men say, it's only when we finally stop looking outside ourselves and begin to look inward that we find joy, peace and happiness. Perhaps the only reason we were missing it was because we were so distracted looking for it elsewhere.

It is said that if we want anything in life, we first need to give it to others. So if you're struggling to feel happy, try asking yourself some good questions:

  1. What can I be grateful for right now, in this moment, even the most simple of things?
  2. What would it feel like if I could just drop all of my concerns, worries and grudges?
  3. What do I really enjoy that I could focus on right now?
  4. How can I spread joy to someone I care about and help make them smile today?

Here are a couple of videos that should give you some inspiration to see how simple happiness can be, once we stop taking life too seriously and worrying too much... Share the joy! 🙂

And here's the Dalai Lama telling the 85 year old Archbishop how much more potential he has to spread joy and happiness to others...

If you enjoyed this article, click here to learn from a 75 year Harvard university study into happiness...

    When do you feel most happy and content?

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